When what one has is enough: Mindfulness, financial desire discrepancy, and subjective well-being

Kirk Warren Brown, Tim Kasser, Richard M. Ryan, P. Alex Linley, Kevin Orzech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research has associated financial desire discrepancies (the gap between current and desired states) with poorer subjective well-being (SWB). Because acquiring more wealth appears ineffective in decreasing financial desire discrepancies, we examined whether a theoretically meaningful psychological factor, termed mindfulness, would close the aspiration gap by "wanting what one has," and thereby enhance SWB. Study 1 revealed that mindfulness was associated with a smaller financial desire discrepancy, which helped explain a positive association between mindfulness and SWB in undergraduates. Two further studies with working adults showed that these results occurred independently of financial status and changes therein. A final, quasi-experimental study with mindfulness trainees extended these findings. Reasons why mindfulness may help to promote the perception of having "enough" are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-736
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Volume43
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by a post-doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and by grants from the Russell Sage Foundation and the Society of the Psychological Study of Social Issues to the first author. We are grateful to Jack Kornfield and the staff at Spirit Rock Center for their assistance in conducting Study 4. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kirk Warren Brown, Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23284. Electronic mail may be sent to kwbrown@vcu.edu .

Keywords

  • Desire discrepancy
  • Mindfulness
  • Subjective well-being
  • Wealth

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